There was still no sign of marquee signings Josh Reynolds and Russell Packer when Wests Tigers head coach Ivan Cleary named his side to take on the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium this Saturday.
Which means the Tigers could be heading towards their third defeat in a row unless the team can rediscover the energy it showed the first six weeks of the competition.
But the euphoria of those first six weeks, which returned five wins and one defeat, has now been replaced with a reality check as injuries begin to take their toll.
Last week’s 24-22 loss to Parramatta came after another two point defeat to the knights in round 7.
The Warriors have their own problems after a similar start to the season, so they will be happy to be hosting the Wests Tigers, who will be shuffling their deck once again.
Elijah Taylor is set to return to the side after missing last weekend’s loss to the Eels with concussion.
Hooker Jacob Liddle will not make the trip to New Zealand due to sternum soreness suffered in round 7, with Pita Godinet named to start in the number nine jersey.
Alex Twal has been named on the bench after missing the clash with the Eels due to a shoulder injury.
Mahe Fonua will take to the field for his second game for Wests Tigers after impressing in his club debut.
Benji Marshall has been named captain for the game against the Warriors.
Wests Tigers NRL Team – Round 9
1. Corey Thompson
2. David Nofoaluma
3. Esan Marsters
4. Kevin Naiqama
5. Mahe Fonua
6. Benji Marshall (capt.)
7. Luke Brooks
8. Matt Eisenhuth
9. Pita Godinet
10. Ben Matulino
11. Chris Lawrence
12. Robbie Rochow
13. Elijah Taylor
14. Alex Twal
15. Josh Aloiai
16. Michael Chee Kam
17. Sauaso Sue
18. Tim Grant
19. Matt McIlwrick
20. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak
21. Tyson Gamble